Deal avoids strike at Collahuasi

A deal between workers and the companies that own the Collahuasi copper mine in northern Chile could mean labour peace at the often-picketed mine for the next three years.

Under a labour agreement reached Friday, workers in the 1,485-member union will receive no pay increase but each worker will get a one-time bonus of 11 million pesos (US$16,400), along with an interest free loan, Reuters reported.

The agreement starts in October, when the current contract expires, and will last until 2020. The mine, co-owned by Glencore (LON:GLEN) and Anglo American (LON:AAL), is the second largest copper mine in the world and one of Chile's largest, producing 506,500 tonnes of the red metal in 2016.

The four-year deal reached in 2013 gave workers a 3.5% salary hike, a $31,900 bonus and a loan worth $6,000. Collahuasi miners staged a 24-hour walkout in 2015.

Friday's agreement comes about six weeks after talks between striking workers at the Escondida copper mine in Chile and majority owner and operator BHP Billiton (ASX, NYSE:BHP) (LON:BLT), ended March 23 with the parties failing to reach a deal and the main union choosing to return to work.

The labour action at the world’s largest copper mine, which finished after 43 days, became the longest private-sector mining strike in Chile’s history.